Steve Martin says Hollywood will never buy the truth — that he happened upon a performance by bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers during a vacation to their hometown of Asheville, North Carolina — so he's readied a more bankable story: "We met in rehab." Martin brought the Rangers to the Balboa Theatre to accompany him through an entertaining couple of hours, featuring folksy tunes and Martin’s laconic wit.
While the funnyman's proclivity for the banjo has been documented, many in attendance murmured in surprise when he announced that the show consisted primarily of his own musical compositions, a prospect he likened to going to see Jerry Seinfeld perform tunes he'd written for the bassoon. But as he and the Rangers launched into Grammy-winning songs such as "Pitkin County Turnaround" and "Daddy Played the Banjo," it became clear that the comedian's music is no joke.
Martin was at ease picking various styles of banjo and pleased to announce an album on the way in collaboration with his supporting band. Martin stepped out of the spotlight so the Rangers could showcase a few of their own tunes, culminating with the a capella "I Can't Sit Down." This prompted one of the evening's many highlights, as Martin returned to the stage and, lamenting the lack of spirituals written for nonbelievers, offered a satire of one with "Atheists Ain't Got No Songs."
Concert: Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers
Date: October 9
Venue: Balboa Theatre